Ant-Man Quantumania Writer Is Despondent Over The Movie’s Terrible Reception

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania screenwriter Jeff Loveness says the film's poor performance really got him down, but he found a way to pull himself back up.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

ant-man quantumania

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is the first Marvel blockbuster that screenwriter Jeff Loveness has worked on, and the critical and commercial response to Paul Rudd‘s third solo Marvel outing hasn’t been great. Speaking to The Daily Beast, Loveness expressed surprise at the reception and admitted it left him feeling “despondent” and “sad.”

“To be honest, those reviews took me by surprise. I was in a pretty low spot… Those were not good reviews… I’m really proud of what I wrote for Jonathan [Majors] and Michelle Pfeiffer. I thought that was good stuff, you know? And so I was just despondent, and I was really sad about it.”

-Jeff Loveness, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania screenwriter

Along with holding the second lowest ever Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score of any Marvel film (48 percent, just barely beating out Eternals‘ 47 percent) Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania also earned a very undesirable Marvel record. In its second weekend, the film’s ticket sales dropped by a staggering 70 percent, which is the biggest second-weekend drop in MCU film history. Particularly considering this is Loveness’ first shot writing a Marvel flick, his despondency is pretty understandable.

The cure for the writer’s blues wound up being the same thing that was, in a way, bringing him down: the movie he’d written. Loveness said he went to a screening of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, and that the audience response was a lot different from the reviews he was reading:

“I went to [a showing]. And an audience was laughing, and it was one of those Sullivan’s Travels, ‘watching the movie with the prisoners’ moments.”

-Jeff Loveness

The experience made Loveness realize that the movie was giving audiences what he’d hoped it would, regardless of the numbers on Box Office Mojo or Rotten Tomatoes.

Jonathan Majors as Kang in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

While it’s good that Jeff Loveness was able to turn things around for his own outlook, the response to Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is nevertheless part of a disturbing trend with Marvel films. Of the three features that broke the $1 billion mark in 2022 — Avatar: The Way of Water, Jurassic World Dominion, and Top Gun: Maverick — none were Marvel movies. In fact, including Quantumania, the films that brought with them all of Marvel’s top five biggest second-weekend drops were released in the last two years.

Critically the MCU has been feeling the sting as well. Of the seven lowest-rated MCU films on Rotten Tomatoes, four come from the last two years. Along with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and Eternals, there’s Thor: Love and Thunder at 63 percent, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at 74 percent.

It’s difficult to avoid the idea that either the long-awaited “superhero fatigue” is very real and finally here and/or Marvel movie quality is dropping. You could explain away the purely commercial disappointments with factors that have nothing to do with the creative side of things — e.g. the rise of Disney+ has made it much more tempting for fans to stay home and wait for films to stream. But that doesn’t explain the drop in critical praise or the fact that those drops are going hand-in-hand with the drop in ticket sales.